tv Washington Journal Jessica Brand Discusses Capital Punishment CSPAN April 21, 2017 9:03am-9:39am EDT
speakers former vice president oe biden, author david ckullough, michael quinn and author cokie roberts. museum my hope this will inspire you to become active, involved citizens in this very great country. history has its eyes on you. 8 on the presidency, talking about florence harding and what she created as first lady. in hospitals, had her kidneys operated on. she can relate to the kinds of
things they were going through. it was interesting, out of this veteran's cause came the veteran's bureau, right? the first time the united states a bureau, the v.a. today, to take care of veterans. go to complete schedule c-span.org. host: "washington journal" continues. host: we are back joining us this morning,exas jessica brand, legal director of the fair punishment project here about capital punishment. it is on the decline, that is brand, nd, jessica however, the headline in new york times this morning reads like this. ledelllee to death in first execution since 2005. happening in the state of arkansas? guest: sure. so a lot. as has been covered a lot in the media lately, arkansas scheduled eight executions to go over a period
of 11 days. because of t expiring drug, which is arkansas to expire in at the end of the month, first f a three-drug cocktail that arkansas uses for executions. but what has happened, as flurry appeals in the cases have gone up and down throughout the courts and arkansas state court the federal courts, is courts have realized that for of these men, they have lacked resources to develop really from the start, up until now on the eve of their execution. had cases thaten were supposed to already occur. don davis, stacy johnson had a case that was supposed to have a execution case was stayed on claim of actual innocence. e could have access to d.n.a. testing and then bruce ward's case was stayed on the first to be a e was supposed
execution, both because he might be legally insane and because he access to any independent mental health expert throughout. ledell lee's ith execution last night. and i think his execution was micro-cosm for all the problems being exposed in the penalty in america right now. of r. lee in this flurry appeals that went up and down through the court, what we had conflicted council who tried to get out of trial.se at he had i drunk lawyer who stated words blah, blah, blah in open court repeatedly and he had back, that lawyer was removed from the case, he ad two new lawyers who filed basically the same appeal as the drunk lawyer. he had federal lawyers, one of removed from the case because he had a mental illness and was "a threat" to his client. in the last stages of his appeals, which were filed in the
lawyers e days, new flew into the case, started going up and down to the court wait, this man has never had justice, never had the case investigated. they found he had extremely low iq, he might have intellectual had extraordinary abuse, which were things that the jury may say, we shouldn't kill you. the last discovered at minute because of bad lawyering. up and down the cases went, but really too late. at the last minute, long after 11 p.m. last night, the supreme i believe six appeals and he was put to death, since 2005.ecution now there are three more that emain scheduled for next week with many appeals remaining. host: the role of the governor in arkansas? guest: right. so the governor sets the execution dates. it was ided that important to try to kill these
the medication expires at the end of the month. the role of the governor, he can executions from happening, so all these men filed clemency the clemency board mcgehee's so that execution has been stopped. is before the governor. he is the man with the most ower to stop the execution and set the warrants, which is what he's done. host: the role the supreme court going forward? guest: so these cases always with the supreme court. they go up, whether it's the state who has a stay of execution that has been granted court, state appeals to the supreme court or defense lawyers bring it up to the try to say, to there has been an egregious case.in this last night, they had i believe six petitions that were before like, mr. leeings
has an iq of 79, maybe lower, maybe a 74. he's never had this claim heard. e's had terrible lawyers and you should stop that. the supreme court can always do that. and they can stop the lethal injection, saying we'll reconsider, it is cruel and unusual this three-drug cocktail it lead to e seen torturous result in executions, oklahoma.ly in they can say, we should stop this, they are bad lawyers or it it did last night, allow the execution to occur. host: what will the court be next week? guest: next week, there are remaining executions on the calendar, i believe two on monday and one on april 24th. may have some days backwards. in each case is really different the individual problem appealss and trials and really vary.
kenneth williams, his execution date, he -- we in a report we wrote, iq of 70. supreme mportant, the court ruled in atkins and most recently in florida case called to is unconstitutional execute someone intellectually disabled. someone with an iq that low is not the worst of the worst, not the most cullpable because of that disability, you can't execute them. argues are t time, starting to to execute someone intellectually disabled. argue this was a that low is real claim that should have been brought up sometime ago. because of bad lawyering, it wasn't. you can expect you might see in his case, you will see other claims of either lack of resources, lack of in arkansas, pert help you develop your facts or health, to r mental develop childhood trauma, really
stories argue this was a. you will see litigation about and i expect additional litigation about the lethal injection protocol in arkansas. want to invite the viewers to join the conversation about apital punishment in the country, it is on decline. we'll show you the numbers that back this up. out of with the news arkansas, so republicans, give thoughts, your questions on this, 202-748-8001. democrats, 202-748-8000. independents, 202-748-8002. jessica brand, i want to show you, have you respond to shawn on the who serves arkansas supreme court. he decented to stay the executions. he wrote this. petitioner his their day in court, the jury spoke and
decades of appeals have occurred. families are entitled to closure and finality of the law, t is inconceivable this court, with the facts and the law well established stays these executions over speculation that supreme court might change the law. this court has a duty to apply they ws of arkansas as exist today. the supreme court could change law any given day, that does not mean we can ignore responsibility and refuse to perform our duty, today justice has been denied by the majority. guest: i'm glad you asked that. in on a hone particular that does not mean we can ignore thing that he says inuse that opinion, it is that these men had their day in court. hat we've seen in every one of these cases as we've unpacked it, that has been a lie. a can go in court and have bad lawyer and no resources and experts and the things you need to have in a capital case to actually prepare that case. thing that he and you don't have a day in court. you might as well have walked
a o court by yourself in death penalty case or with, you get lawyers who have had their case, that would make someone charged with a misdemeanor nervous and that has in arkansas. it would be one thing if these lawyering and d good experts throughout their of gation, these 20 years litigation, then sure, that is a fair process. to say might be able these men had their days, but for men like don davis or bruce ledell lee, who was executed last night, that promise was a lie. is absolutely critical here. f arkansas wants to execute men, if they want to make sure that people actually have a meaningful day, they have an they unity to litigate, need to provide better lawyers, they need to provide actual experts and they just haven't done that. i think the premise that entire decent at is false. host: death penalty in the
united states, take a look at numbers, 31 states have the four penalty, 19 do not, tates with gubernatorial morator morat moratoria, here are executions by state, the u.s. toelgs since 1976, over 1400. texas has done 542, oklahoma 112, virginia the same, and lorida, 92, missouri, nearly 90. the u.s. execution since 2013, the number is seven. gone down that has from 20 in 2016. 28 in 2015. 2014 and jessica brand, why are we seeing this trend? see obviously public opinion starting to decline, i think actually the critical that last year there were 30 new death
sentences in america. means only 30 juries decided to sentence people to death. that mean? it means as we understand things illness and the true debilitating effects of not just abuse, but continuous lifetime abuse that people experience of intellectual disability. when juries hear about that, it s hard to kill someone, to impose mercy, these men are kept in jail for the rest of their right hat feels like the thing to do for a lot of people in this country. think the second thing is, people are starting to realize how broken this system is. here was just another exoneration, it got lost in the of last night because arkansas n. louisiana, i man was taken off death row for three out he didn't kill the baby that he was ccused of, the baby had pneumonia and died of
parish, the evidence child. suffocated the the autopsy exposed the opposite, that was kept out. exonerated and removed from death row after three years. we know that happens. think that was 158th exoneration from death row in country, that is an astounding number and there are more people on death row who are actually in a sense stacy johnson just got a stay of arkansas to conduct d.n.a. testing to prove this. he fact there are innocent people who have certainly been put to death and have been amoved from death row is also big factor in causing this. hen it is expensive and the alternative is a life without parole. that is a real punishment, the rest of your life behind bars is a real punishment, that is what charged with murder will receive in this country or
capital murder for the most part country, except for 30 people. there are real forms of punishment that can be imposed and i think people are starting realize that and those would be the three main causes i would give you. poll found that a clear majority of voters, 61%, would choose punishment other the death penalty for murder. let's get to our calls. ohio, n cleveland, republican. david, what do you think? caller: greta, i saw that dress go, wow. four points from cleveland, we facebook, the stevens killer, you know, anthony snow, professionally as i drove the bus, he's been in prison 10 or 12 years, does prison. got prison art, i almost got on e-bay, a sterling silver table spoon with the say n -- i want to
fayetteville. greta. host: we'll move o. lou, fort florida. good morning. caller: i would say i'm 180 egrees out of step with jessica's points. one, i think she talks about all problems and cases, what do the lawyers pay? taxpayer, do the lawyers get fined, did the lawyers get disbarred? they get a free ride and they are creating the problem in area.eath penalty this nation didn't get to be the mamby p is by being 1800s and 1900s, why should i pay to put somebody 50 years that doesn't help the family of and soy they have killed forth. i think restitution, you do the the fine. pay ahead.jessica, go
guest: sure, a lot to unpack for that. one, it is actually important, the re not paying for defense in a lot of cases and that is part of the problem, so texas and i saw corpus christie, that lawyer was working on free. of the client for that happens in a lot of places, attorneys are basically forced that is paying to represent clients. aren't really r, paying, which is a problem, eople have constitutional right, okay, our country has moved forward by having constitutional right, one is to present defense. actually in many places, that is little here is a disconnect in your question between how much lawyers are being paid. lawyers do get barred for other misconduct, which is a
lawyers hen we have with misconduct who are getting drugs n court or abusing or taking other client's money. disciplined, that is a problem when those are lawyers representing people harged with capital murder because maybe if you actually learned about their lives, they shouldn't get that. penalty process is expensive. more expensive than life in without parole because after your appeal, basically done. so i think also the idea this is expensive is to keep someone in jail is just wrong it is complicated, the question about victims. with you that ee their voices often get lost in last-minute flurry of appeals, where we're talking bout the defendant and his rights or her rights and whether he should be executed.
punishment sure and when someone goes to jail for the rest of their life. punishment.al that is someone who spends the rest of their life behind bars about that day, thinking about what they did to that family. don't see their loved ones very often, if at all, because people generally, the are poor, people can't travel to see them, they don't hold their sitly, see their kids, they behind bars for the rest of their life. thatat is a punishment and is the punishment that most people in this country get when accused of murder and that's a real closure for those families. there are families who don't want the death penalty, in the case pened in texas, where the victims had always said, we don't want the penalty. we don't want the death penalty. got up and said, the family wants the death
penalty to the jury, that turned a lie, they really manipulated that family and used hem, that execution was just stayed on those grounds. it is complicated, it is complicated when you talk about people want and what brings people closure. don't pretend to have any one-size answer for every victim, that is obviously personal and i would never comment on that. host: the death penalty group says this about the financial facts on the death penalty. for death penalty cost average $400,000 per case $100,000 per case not the death penalty was sought. the cost of the death penalty has been over $4 billion since 1978 n. maryland, average death case result nothing death sentence cost approximately $3 million. to maryland taxpayers pursued between 1978 be $186 million n. texas, death penalty case
of $2.3 million, three times the cost of imprisoning someone for 40 years, that according to the dallas morning news, that was back in 1992. florida, a ahassee, republican. glen, you are on the air. caller: yes, i would just like jessica if she thinks the would be nishment appropriate for someone like stalin, or -- that and d millions of people what about mass murderer necessary general? any case nk there is where you would support capital punishment? thank you. guest: sure. i get that question a lot. it is a good question. for me is no. the reason for that is, i think,
a choice. we can say, you know what, i living ink you're worth and i want to kill you or we can ay, i want to put you behind bars for the rest of your life. and i think being able to be the can impose ays, i mercy. i can find forgiveness, even for worst of the worst, even for someone who put some of my into a gas chamber, even for that, if i can be the erson who says, go to jail for the rest of your life, but i am going to be the person who says, to impose death. that is a really powerful take.on to be able to that is a beautiful thing to be able to teach to our children, be better, even when faced with what many would call pure evil. that is a really beautiful, almost spiritual thing to be able to say to someone. for me, no, no one i would put
chamber.ath host: dan in lees summit, democrat. dan, good morning, you're on the air. caller: hi. thanks for taking my call. want to comment on jessica's get nts on how individuals into a situation, our citizens get in a situation they are or theyhe death penalty are facing life in prison at all mostne of her comments was people don't understand mental illness and the effects mental a lot of these individuals that are facing the death penalty. i don't mean to be rude or anything, i think jessica is really barking up the wrong tree, so to speak, to get at the root of the problem and from facing that. and as healthcare in this country and this country ignores mentally ill people. for ational alliance mentally ill and how brain disorders affect people.
eople can turn on family members, they can hurt, maim and kill their own family members, strangers.erfect nami, we we dealt with were told the best is los where they ty jail, got better mental healthcare there than anywhere else and disproportionate, high percentage of people that are mental health ve issues. what difference does it make if penalty he death problem or the life in prison don't address the mental health issue first? root not getting at the of the problem or not accomplishing much. you. guest: i think that is a great oint, there are two different problems there. there is immediate problem of who d we execute people have this kind of trauma and mental illness?
much bigger scope of the problem, which is we need to toopeople help before it is late. i think that is absolutely right. asa ink, you know, governor hutchison, this week, went and helping peopleut with disabilities and wanting to make sure people with got the helpreally and support they needed. i thought, there is irony in about to e he is execute men with the most the ling of disabilities, most debilitating impairment and you are right, if people had these men when they were children, when they were young of starting to show signs schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, sexually were being abused, you are right, i think we would not see this problem in way here. so, i think there are two separate issues, but i think you are totally right. have a crisis in this country, we don't take care of
ill, the ly intellectually disabled and we prison.em up in los angeles county jail can't be mental health institution if we are to be a safe place. doing today?re you i want to know the history of you said the baby who passed by disease and the prisoner was stayed. history about what was going on? about the case and about his background? what about tion is, the school to jail pipeline that targets black american males? ow do you think that can be fixed? guest: sure. the last question is a great one probably takes a couple hours, i'll do my best for both. was tried on's case in the 1990s and there was not
forensic evidence at the time. since then, what you are seeing cases andin johnson's you are seeing happening in a lot of exonerations, in the s, there was either no forensic evidence or they were things awed science, like bite marks or hair, which really bogus evidence. in texas, where i live, the forensic science commission said you marks are so bogus, can't introduce them at trials. lots of men were convicted on lack of ence or forensic evidence. now d.n.a. testing has enormously in the last 20 years, you see people ike mr. johnson who always maintained their innocence and were convicted on pretty thin access to y, i want that evidence. ledell lee actually said the evidence against him was hardly overwhelming, the ourt denied access to that
testing. you are seeing a lot of that. in cato parish, the louisiana kind of a re seeing different problem n. that jurisdiction, there was a named dale cox, no longer the prosecutor there, he as quite a character, threatened defense lawyers in court at one time, you can read about that online, it was highly covered, and he was an example of prosecutors arguing beyond the evidence showed, right? sometimes these prosecutors get o convinced that they are right, so convinced this man was evil that they are argue things evidence doesn't support to the jury and in this showed ere, an autopsy that baby was not killed, the aby died of sepsis, and pneumonia, the prosecutor argued otherwise, which is unethical. happens, not infrequently in this country and a lot of cases get reversed on or prosecutors knowing they are using bad science, but
introducing it anyway. so, i hope that answers your first question. the second question, the school pipeline, yeah, we can, i mean, there is obviously real problem in the disproportionate use of incarceration and punishment for americans in this country. you would have to be blind not to see that. that is something that i think to talk about, have more conversations about, because acknowledge want to it, it is a hard thing to talk about, but it is the most weortant thing, i think when talk about criminal justice, we could also just stop putting kids in prison. kids need actual help and treatment, they sometimes need are not althcare they getting the last caller talked about, they need schools, they frankly food, a lot of kids aren't getting fed really quite m understating the problem as someone who worked in the riminal justice system for 10 years now, it is breathtaking the scope.
a realcountry could make commitment to actually treating kids like kids and to actually forms of help as opposed to incarceration, but right now latter, that g the is not a choice we have to make, it is a choice to do that. from linda in r florida, a democrat. linda, good morning. aller: good morning, greta, thank you for c-span and thank ou mrs. jessica for what you are doing. mrs. jessica, i want to say what continue to they imprison people of color, they need to maintain a slave society and as christians the ironic thing is that most people who on't believe in the death penalty are democrats, but the people who believe in it are and i'm not a left, right, i'm wherever i need to be on the issue. wanted to say this. god-given t we follow rights here and that kill
suggest not justified in any but we can support justification for killing somebody on death row. if we would consider this, if when a woman decides to go and want to bortion, we kill the doctor, but we don't want to kill the woman. when christians start believing it is okay to kill a woman who aborts her baby and not just the doctor, then we'll think about wanting to continue to put row.e on death we don't want to do this, we know that we can't perpetuate way, so killing is unjustified in any situation and need to believe not have a one-sided idea about murder. murder is murder and there is no justification for it and any sense of the word. thank you so much for c-span, you do a marvelous job. linda, jessica brand, let's end looking forward here. hat are you watching out of arkansas today and over the next few days?
guest: right. know, as i said, there are three more cases that are coming up ng to be next week. and i think this is a real risis for the supreme court right now because the system of capital punishment is premised idea that it captures the worst of the worst, that it only punishes people after they have had their day in court, as the put forward and these collectively ve shown what a lie that is. these men have terrible lawyers, lawyers, lawyers who didn't ask for help. williams case is coming up this week, his lawyer said, this is one of the first cases i ever tried, i had no idea what i was doing. hade aren't people who have real trials, it was a circus instead. we'll be watching to if the supreme court mean what is it says, the arkansas courts mean what they say, the
have a right to counsel, people should be the of the worst if they are going to be executed. f they mean that, they will stay the executions, these men aren't the worst of the worst, they are individuals most vulnerable, have the most crippling impairments. hey have had some of the worst of the worst lawyers. we're watching to see if the its wordourt will take seriously or just going to let kind of the false promise of a system continue. host: and jessica brand what role does and will the fair in shment project play capital punishment? guest: sure. actually after having looked at these cases yesterday, we are over the last couple of issued a report, on kind of what happened in the lives what were the men's like, what are impairments that uncovered in now the last year or several months
compelled de us feel given the quality of lawyering, the crippling intellectual illness, the ntal unspeakable trauma that you ouldn't really want to talk about in any polite conversation that happened to these people. support of mr.in lee last night, whether we will continue to file those next discussed, en't we're still sort of trying to wrap our brains around what and i think night we will keep talking about what happened in the cases. i think if you say to someone, should someone who committed a be put to death, they might say yes. if you say to someone, should lawyer, whoh a drunk has intellectual iq score of 79, parents beat him almost every single day with boiling ater and electric cords and whose mother pimped him out from the time he was nine, if you say they really e, change their mind about how they
eel about the death penalty as an appropriate punishment. having conversations like the one today is really important doing that.ep host: you can find more fair ation on the website punishment project, jessica brand, thank you for the conversation. me.st: thanks for having host: we'll take a short break and come back and open the phone lines. you can continue talking about capital punishment in this country or republican effort to replace epeal and affordable care act, they plan do that next week or any other public policy issue. there are phone lines on the screen. we'll be right back. >> sunday night on afterward, congressman ken buck, of colorado, member of the freedom caucus discusss his book "drain
swamp," how washington corruption is worse than you think. >> when you arrive in dc and you have the surroundings that i've described earlier, you get very that situation and you don't want to give up hose comforts and the way to earn those comforts is to spend more money and to grow and to not solve create programs and take credit for those programs, whether they're efficient, effective, to take credit for the programs. of the members of congress are here, it is the had, thethey have ever highest paying job they have they ad and it is a job don't want to give up. their re-election is more than the actual problem solving that needs to go d.c.